Upon arrival into London’s dynamic Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest in the world, you’ll begin to understand how London earned its reputation. Straddling the River Thames, London is a tale of two cities – dynamic, energetic, charismatic and non-stop with a progressive and contemporary edge.
Discover this thrilling, cosmopolitan capital London with a vibrant cultural atmosphere that offers a unique experience rich in cultural, ethnic, linguistic and culinary diversity. Take in a show in “Theatreland” in the West End, or head to the South Bank – home to Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre. If dance is your thing, catch a stunning performance by English National Ballet at Sadler’s Wells theatre or the London Coliseum.
London’s architectural heritage is equally diverse, featuring structures from Georgian, Edwardian, Neo-Classic, Gothic Revival, Art Deco and Art Nouveau intermingled with the strikingly modern silhouettes of the contemporary styles of architecture.
There is also no shortage of ways to experience London with children. Visit the super-scary London Dungeons or book the ultimate Harry Potter experience on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter – to step inside the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and Hagrid’s hut. See how many of the wax figures you recognize at Madame Tussads. For the brave, the Sea Life London Aquarium offers the opportunity to swim with sharks or dive deeper and take a VIP behind the scenes tour.
Discover this magnificent city and book your flight to London now.
How to get from London Heathrow Airport to central London?
Heathrow Airport is approximately 24 km (15 miles) west of central London and easily accessible by road or public transportation. The fastest service to central London is the non-stop Heathrow Express train that runs between LHR Terminals 2 & 3, taking 15 minutes to central London and 21 minutes from LHR Terminal 5.
Transport for London rail services provide a cheaper, stopping service to London Paddington, departing every 30 minutes and calling at local stations in west London. Journey time varies between 31 and 49 minutes.
The London Underground (the “Tube”) also provides a cost-effective service from LHR to central London on the Piccadilly Line. Travel time is just under one hour and trains run approximately every 10 minutes at all times. Heathrow has three Tube stations – one servicing Terminals 2 and 3 and one each at Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.
What about public transportation around the city?
London uses a system called the “Oyster Card” for public transportation services, which also has a Visitor Oyster Card option, allowing you to ride the Tube, Thames river bus services, local overground trains, London trams or London double-decker buses. The London bicycle hire scheme has more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes available throughout the city with the first half hour free of charge. You also won’t have to look very far to find a licensed London black cab.
Is there anything else that is good to know?
You may want to consider getting a London Pass. It works as a London sightseer credits package available for durations of 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days. Accessible from a smartphone, the London Pass provides fast-track entry to popular attractions, plus discounted entry fees. Attractions include hop-on, hop-off bus tours, Thames River boat cruises, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, the Science Museum IMAX, HMS Belfast, Wembley Stadium Tours, ZSL London Zoo and more. There’s something for everyone.
Discover London and it’s attractions
London is one of the most visited cities in the world – and for good reason. It’s impossible to see and do everything in a weekend, a week or even a month, which means you’ll probably be coming back as London offers so much to experience and keep you entertained.
- Camden Town with it’s markets
- Notting Hill
- Royal Botanic Gardens
- Windsor Castle
- London Eye Ferris
- London’s cathedrals
Take a stroll along London’s waterways down the Regent’s Canal to Camden Lock and Camden Market in the heart of Camden Town. The market is six individual markets rolled into one with an extensive array of food, clothing, art and souvenirs.
The upmarket Notting Hill is home to Portobello Market on Portobello Road – the Saturday market is a must for those looking for second hand clothing and antiques. Or visit the 14th century covered Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street for a unique experience in the heart of the City of London.
London’s many parks offer respite from the hectic pace of the city. Walk 18 meters above the woodland floor through the treetops at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for breathtaking views – only a 30-minute journey from central London and with a wide range of family events, activities and child-friendly places to explore.
Royal watchers should not miss the opportunity to visit Windsor Castle – residence of Her Majesty the Queen of England and the oldest and largest working castle in the world. Changing of the guard is at 11:00 a.m. each morning.
Spend 30 minutes gathering pictures on the 32-capsule Coca-Cola London Eye Ferris wheel for an unforgettable, breathtaking perspective of more than 55 of the most famous London landmarks.
Visit one of the many churches and cathedrals that call London home. Explore the interior of Sir Christopher Wren’s 17th century St. Paul’s Cathedral and climb up to the Golden Gallery for spectacular panoramic views. Discover the ruins of St. Dunstan-in-the-East or visit the historic Bankside area and stop by London’s oldest Gothic building – Southwark Cathedral. The UNESCO Word Heritage site of Westminster Abbey is also a must-see with its famous stained glass windows and monumental sculpture collection.
A selection of other impressive attractions in London can be found in our London guide.
Restaurants, pubs and bars in London
The diversity of London’s culinary landscape, entertainment and shopping options is mind-boggling. Find traditional British fare alongside international dishes everywhere. Shop to your heart’s content on Oxford Street, Bond Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, King’s Road and Knightsbridge. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
Consistently top-ranked for fine dining, London currently has more than 70 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from. London itself boasts three restaurants with 3 Michelin stars and there are two more an hour along the M4 in the village of Bray.
You’ll find traditional pubs dotted literally around every corner. Nestled between two lanes at 1 Ely Court in Holborn is Ye Olde Mitre, London’s oldest pub. The George Inn has been resident in its wonky building in Southwark since 1677 and is full of memorabilia honoring former patrons, including Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.
Shopping in London
For upmarket retail therapy, look no further than the swanky Knightsbridge – home to Harrods (est. 1849) and Harvey Nichols (est. 1831) and nearby Sloan Street for designer clothing, luxury gifts and fashion accessories. The Harrods Food Hall is an entire department store floor dedicated to high-end foodstuffs from all over the globe. The Fifth Floor Café and Terrace at “Harvey Nicks” offers somewhere to take a load off.
Of course, retail therapy in London would not be complete without visiting the quintessential Marks & Spencer flagship store at Marble Arch or the Tudor Revival building that houses Liberty London in the West End.
Take the kids to the seven-floor Hamleys flagship toy store on Regent Street, offering a range of activities, such as the LEGO experience, Harry Potter Corner, puppet shows and karaoke – but be warned, it will be very hard to leave!
Discover London’s nightlife
Night owls should consider a London Nightlife ticket – available for 2 or 7 days and offering a choice of bars, nightclubs and restaurants packaged with a number of special offers including drinks, 2 for 1 specials and extras.
To learn more about London’s range of cuisine and the best places to enjoy a very British pint, see our information about eat and drink in London.